Monday, August 01, 2011

Debt Ceiling Deal: Big Questions for K-12

This from Politics K-12:

As a vote nears in Congress to lift the federal debt ceiling and stave off a financial default, education advocates are just beginning to take stock of what this will mean for K-12 education. And it's not at all clear.
According to news reports and congressional documents, the deal places 10-year caps on federal spending, including a $7 billion reduction in fiscal 2012 spending below current levels. (Fiscal 2012 starts on Oct. 1.) It would create a new congressional committee charged with finding $1.5 trillion in cuts over the next 10 years. If the committee doesn't do that, failure would trigger automatic cuts, or "sequestration" of funds across most agencies.

The Committee for Education Funding, a coalition of 85 education groups, estimated such cuts would amount to 6.7 percent in most agencies, which for the U.S. Department of Education would translate into about $3 billion. That's a lot of money. But the legislation seems designed to force this new committee to be successful in finding savings.

Interestingly, the legislative vehicle for the entire debt ceiling proposal is an "education sciences" bill that serves as a technical amendment to fix some problems with contracts extending the life of the regional educational labs. Congressional leaders had to find a live bill into which they could insert the compromise, and this is what they picked...

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